New Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Dealing with Unfinished Paperwork, IT Challenges

New Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Mary Welker has a bit of organizing to do, as she settles into her new position. She told the county commissioners Monday that Judge Michael Shurn appears to have left behind some unfinished paperwork when he left office. “There’s 300 to 400 files that are waiting on orders, and I think everybody knows that that was an issue. And as judge, I have two choices. I can just give those files to Judge Shurn and say he has to do them, or our staff can do them, make sure they get done, make sure they get signed, make sure they get filed, and I think that’s the only appropriate way to deal with it because there’s 300 or 400 of them.”

Now, she said she’s shut down almost all the hearings for the first half of the month so her staff can deal with files, while avoiding the use of overtime. “Staff here has spent a lot of time organizing it so that we can find files because there are files that couldn’t be found,” Welker explained. “I’m going through a box of stuff from March and April that’s just chucked in a box. So we’re working on it. We’re working on it really hard.”

Welker said she’s also had some issues with the county’s IT Department. “IT is not responsive,” she told the commissioners. “We had passwords, as of today, for JTS, which is the filing system, and CSI that have not been shut off. And that’s a problem. It’s a security problem. The email that we asked to have to shut off for staff that are no longer employed by the county wasn’t shut off, as of this afternoon.” On top of that, she said that Judge Shurn and another former employee still had one of the county’s laptops and keys to all the offices.

There appeared to be some confusion over how much equipment Shurn expected to keep using, as he transitions into a senior judge role. He initially asked if he could keep using his county-issued cell phone, computer, and email address, but Welker was under the impression that he’d changed his mind. “At the last commissioners meeting I was at, he said he’d be out, didn’t need an office, didn’t need a phone, didn’t need email,” Welker said. “And so then, he expected to be able to just come up and use that big computer from his office, and I put my foot down and said no. He has downloaded all of his email for I don’t know how long onto that computer, and it’s the one that barely runs.”

Additionally, Welker said she’s rearranged the Circuit Court offices, with the help of the county’s Maintenance Department, to limit access to the public and make them more secure. But she said she had trouble getting a hold of IT Director Matt Voltz, to install a computer for one of her staff members.